If you have poor eyesight, you likely wear (or are supposed to wear), glasses, contacts, or switch between both, depending on the day. In fact, about 45 million people in the United States alone wear contact lenses, making them a pretty popular choice. What you might not think about when it comes to your contacts, however, is how disposing of them may impact the environment.
New research found an upsetting statistic concerning how people are getting rid of their contact lenses when they're done with them. Roughly 3.36 billion disposable lenses are getting either flushed down the toilet or down the sink drain every year. What happens then? Sadly, they end up in the wastewater systems and function as microplastics. Basically, the contacts you pop out and toss into the toilet end up being pollution.
Rolf Halden, an environmental engineer at Arizona State University, began this research after wondering where his own contact lenses end up. He and his team conducted the research in several stages. First, they gave an anonymous survey of 139 people, including those who wear contacts and those who don't.